Stagg’s boys’ volleyball team had a busy start to its regular season last week, but finished it on the plus side of .500 with four wins in seven matches.
In their quest to keep the Chargers moving forward, head coach Lauren Royer and her assistants are emphasizing a simple principle.
“What we’ve been working on with the guys this entire season is wins are earned and not given,” Royer said. “We’ve talked about how to earn every point, every game and every match.
“We need to work for the win, instead of hoping and wishing for a play failing or the ball to drop. I think the kids are starting to believe in that and work toward that.”
Stagg opened up on Tuesday with a 12-25, 25-22, 25-21 victory over Richards. Tom Matonis and Trevor Crain posted nine and eight kills, respectively, to aid the host Chargers, who picked up their second win two days later by beating St. Rita 25-21, 25-15. Kamil Krzysiak led the way against the Mustangs with seven kills, while Crain was right behind him with seven.
Libero Sean Runyon had 11 digs, Nick Stanek dished out 25assists, and Matonis contributed five kills and four blocks to give Stagg a greater boost. Two of Matonis’ blocks came on consecutive plays in the second set and handed the Chargers a 19-14 lead.
After falling behind 7-1 in the first set, Stagg rallied to tie the game at 8-all. The Chargers went ahead for good at 15-14 and carried that momentum into the second set.
“Beating Richards and St. Rita was an awesome start to the season, to be honest,” Royer said. “Richards was a really tough team from the beginning of the match to the end. And though we won against Richards and St. Rita, in no way do I believe we earned the wins in the way we could have earned them.
“We’re working with the kids to push themselves further.”
Over the weekend, Stagg competed at the Marist Invitational, where it dropped decisions to both Eisenhower (32-30, 25-18) and Lincoln-Way Central (25-19, 26-24) on Friday. The Chargers rebounded to down St. Laurence (25-9, 25-15) and Reavis (25-23, 19-25, 15-9) on Saturday before losing to Mt. Carmel (17-25, 25-19, 15-10) in the third-place match within the Bronze Division. “Many of the kids on this roster are first-year varsity players, so we’re working on building confidence and trust in themselves,” Royer said. “It comes with playing. We do, however, have a bunch of workhorses, and that’s a good foundation to have for any team to move forward.”
One of those prominent workhorses is Crain, who missed most of last season while recovering from a broken foot. The outside hitter has stepped in to provide leadership, along with returning starters Matonis and Runyon.
“We have great leaders in Crain and Runyon,” Royer said. “They’re our two captains and they are both setting a great foundation for the team. Trevor is back to 100 percent and doing well. It’s great to have him back [because] we have a lot to work for.”
Stanic, Stagg’s senior setter, is also becoming a major factor. He is growing more familiar with his younger teammates and providing the Chargers with stability at a vital position.
“The kids are gaining a trust with Nick,” Royer said. “He got in a couple [matches] at the end of last season — a few leading up to regionals and then in the regional. He’s running the court and learning how to set for the different hitters that are new to him.
“He’s connecting pretty well, but I still want to see them working at connecting even more at practice — outside and also inside at the net. So far, it’s been a good start.”
Shepard competed four times last week and broke even in its matches.
The Astros defeated Marian Catholic 24-26, 25-15, 25-20 on Tuesday behind Doug Nelson’s 11 service points, which included two aces, and 16 assists. Brian Wendling counted two aces among his 11 points and put down four kills, while Candelario Delphin finished with six kills and two aces.
Nelson produced 10 assists, two solo blocks and an ace on the Astros’ behalf last Wednesday, but that performance couldn’t prevent them from absorbing a 25-10, 25-17 defeat against Benet Academy. Delfin added five kills in a losing cause.
On Friday at the Marist Invitational, Shepard topped Marian again in straight sets (25-19, 25-21), but lost to Andrew in the same manner (25-9, 25-16). Nelson had 13 assists and four kills in the triumph, while Steve Szajek totaled five solo blocks, three kills and an ace.
Sandburg began its regular season with an impressive 4-0 victory over Mother McAuley last Monday.
Sarah De Wolf booted in two goals for the Lady Eagles within the first two minutes of the match. De Wolf tallied her initial marker off a pass from Emily Osoba in the opening minute.
Osoba, one of eight sophomores on the Sandburg roster, added a goal of her own later, plus another assist. She set up the Lady Eagles’ third score in the 22nd minute with her pass to Rachel Mokersky.
Osoba scored on a penalty kick with 6:24 left in the first half to make it 4-0.
Stagg dropped a 2-0 decision to Marian Catholic last Monday.
BOYS’ WATER POLO
Shepard co-op dropped a 12-3 decision to Bradley-Bourbonnais last Tuesday. Jerry Zachery scored twice and Chritian Reys had one goal for the Astros.
Both Sandburg and Stagg fell short in SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover matches last Thursday.
Lincoln-Way Central eased past the Lady Eagles 8-7, while the Lady Chargers wound up on the short end of a 9-6 final opposite Lincoln-Way North.